Paid Parental Leave in the United States: What the Data Tell Us about Access, Usage, and Economic and Health Benefits

Source: Barbara Gault, Heidi Hartmann, Ariane Hegewisch, Jessica Milli, Lindsey Reichlin, Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), March 2014

…This paper reviews research on the benefits of paid parental leave from the perspectives of individuals, families, employers, and the economy overall. It focuses specifically on leave taken to care for a new child (i.e. maternity or paternity leave). It provides context for the discussion of paid parental leave in the United States by describing state, federal, and international laws and regulations that provide workers with access to paid leave and current efforts to expand access; summarizes research on the availability of paid leave according to existing data sources; and makes recommendations for improving data collection and analysis to more clearly describe the extent of paid family leave in the United States. The paper also suggests ways to increase equity in access to paid leave….